Saturday, December 26, 2015

Clockwork Gold (e-novella) by Jenny Schwartz

Clockwork Gold is self-published steampunk romance.

I'm feeling lazy at the moment, so this post doesn't include a read-alikes list.


First, full disclosure: the author and I follow each other on BookLikes and have occasionally commented on each other's posts. When she announced that Clockwork Gold would briefly be free, I snatched it up, because steampunk romance appeals to me. (This was a year or so ago – it's no longer free, but it is cheap.)

Rebecca Jones is a dirigible pilot with a rock solid reputation among the miners and prospectors in the Goldfields of Western Australia. Because they trust her enough not to shoot her down as a potential spy, she's able to go where many other dirigible pilots can't. However, she knows it'll take more than just her word to deal with the corruption in Kalgoorlie. She needs proof, but the arrival of Nathan Burton, Special Agent to the Crown, makes the situation more complicated than she expected.

I downloaded this because of its description and because it was free – I didn't even bother to read the excerpt. Which I'm mentioning because one particular detail took me by surprise: Rebecca and Nathan are estranged foster siblings. I'm not a fan of “siblings but not really” romance. It tends to hit my personal squick buttons. Nathan first joined the Tanner household when he was 14 and Rebecca was 11 (I think), so they weren't very young children, and it was clear that Nathan never thought of Rebecca as his younger sister. Unfortunately, I didn't get quite as clear a feeling from Rebecca, and so the speed with which she went from seeing Nathan as a family member (?) she'd once wronged to seeing him as a handsome man who was attracted to her and who she was attracted to in turn didn't work for me.

That said, I liked them as individuals. They both had a strong sense of justice, although Rebecca was more straightforward and naive in her methods for achieving it than Nathan was. I was horrified when I realized how she was planning to get the proof she needed, although thankfully she'd planned things out better than I feared (but still). It also helped that the villain was overconfident.

All in all, not bad, despite my “OMG they're foster siblings” moment. The Western Australian setting was a nice departure from steampunk romance's usual London or somewhere in America. I do wish there had been more of an opportunity to see Rebecca's mechanical creations in action, though, rather than just read about the aftermath of them going off.

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